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"With Rand Paul’s Exit, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Died Once Again?"

Libertarianism has died more times than Abe Vigoda. But unlike good old Fish, libertarianism is still alive and kicking.

You know the drill: Any time Rand Paul sneezes, libertarianism and the "Libertarian Moment" catches the Zika virus and croaks faster than a Bubble Boy touring an Ebola ward. So when the Kentucky senator pulled the plug on his presidential campaign, all sorts of Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, and even self-loathing libertarians started spiking the football like they were in the XFL.

Alas, like Abe Vigoda, the recently deceased actor who dealt with false reports of his death for the last 34 years of his life (after a premature obit once appeared in People magazine), libertarianism is constantly being written off as dead—or never having really existed in the first place.

And so it came to pass that Washingtonian magazine called me shortly after Rand Paul's announcement to ask, "With Rand Paul's Exit, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Died Once Again?" From the story, by Andrew Beaujon:

the Moment got thoroughly outpolled in early contests, not unlike...Rand Paul, who dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, an event Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress quickly commemorated with a piece called "Rand Paul and the Libertarian Moment That Never Was" and [National Review's] Ramesh Ponnuru marked with "There Never Was a 'Libertarian Moment.'"...

Reached by phone, Gillespie...says the Libertarian Moment is "absolutely independent of what idiot is running for president or dogcatcher." Poll after poll, he says, shows younger people identifying with libertarian tenets like smaller government, unhappiness with government interference into their personal or sex lives, and unfettered business growth.

"If you enjoy the choice coming through your screen via Netflix," he says, you're chilling to libertarian principles....

Paul veered away from classic libertarianism in the race, especially with regard to gay marriage and immigration. (Gillespie and Reason have described him as "libertarian-ish.") "If the Republican Party wants to benefit from its small-government rhetoric," he says, "it has to become libertarian not just in its language but in its action." Besides Netflix and Pop-Tarts, Gillespie sees libertarianism's biggest impact in policies like school choice and forcing government units to compete with private entities to, say, run toll roads. The sum of all that libertarian thought, he says, is a "system that delivers a Whole Foods rather than a 'Socialist Safeway' in Adams Morgan."

Read the whole thing here.

In talking with Beaujon, I stressed that libertarianism is best understood as "pre-political" and that politics is a "crippled, lagging indicator" in American life (this is one of the basic tenets of Matt Welch's and my book, The Declaration of Independents). Virtually everything in our lives that is not either directly controlled by or heavily regulated by government has been getting better over the past 30, 40, and 50 years precisely because innovation and increased personal and economic freedom have allowed for the sorts of experimentation and decentralization of power that accords with libertarian thought. Libertarians believe in giving people more autonomy and allowing them to make more choices about everything that matters to them. To the extent that things like trade barriers have been slashed, regulatory burdens reduced, social and legal sanctions lifted on lifestyles, that's the political dimension of the libertarian moment right there.

Gage Skidmore/FlickrGage Skidmore/FlickrAnd remember this: The Internet, which embodies libertarian values of decentralized knowledge- and power-sharing, became a mass medium only when the government got out of the way and private companies built out the backbone and infrastructure to allow it to actually be useful to all of us. How did traditional liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans respond to a new way of communicating, trading, and expression? By passing as part of telecommuncations legislation the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which would have essentially governed the Internet (including the World Wide Web) as if it were a broadcast TV or radio station. From Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich to Bill Clinton and Janet Reno (and Hillary Clinton, too), everyone in political power signed on to limiting the freewheeling nature that made the internet different. Luckily, the Supreme Court struck down virtually all of the CDA as an affront to free speech (something which only libertarians, actually respect independent of particular outcomes. Indeed, liberal Democrats such as Hillary Clinton unapologetically seek to restrain speech they dislike (read Matt Welch's "Hail to the Censor" on this score) while conservative Republicans are still trotting out "The Case for Censorship" when it floats their boats.

I would have liked to see Rand Paul get more traction in the 2016 election. For all the faults I thought his campaign had (and I was never slow to voice my opinion), he was by far and away the most libertarian-ish of the crew this time around, in either party. Certainly, I look forward to him resuming his powerful role in the Senate and ushering new and different conversations than we'd be having if he had remained an opthamologist. And there's no question that libertarianism would be moving faster into the political arena if he had maintained the early leads for the GOP nomination he had a year ago.

But for cripes sake, it's ridiculous to be writing off the Libertarian Moment and libertarianism simply because his presidential campaign went tits up. By the end of this year alone, we'll have legalized pot in up to a dozen more states than we do now, school-choice and public-sector pensions will have been reformed in various places according the prescriptions laid out by the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website), serious criminal-justice reform will have been enacted, the pushback against military interventions will have proceeded apace, and more. And that's just in the political arena. In our commercial and personal lives, you can bet the rent money that there will be more individualized and hyper-personalized options for all of us or, same thing, obstacles to the same will be attacked relentlessly until they fall.

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  • Trigger Hippie||

    You'll kick that football yet, Charlie Brown.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Lucy!

  • ||

    DON'T TALK ABOUT LUC...oh wait, wrong Lucy. Oh shit! I just talked about her!

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's ok as long as you're thinking dirty thoughts while you're talking about her.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "With Rand Paul’s Exit, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Died Once Again?"
    Libertarianism has died more times than Abe Vigoda. But unlike good old Fish, libertarianism is still alive and kicking.

    I'd say Libertarian is about as alive and kicking as Abe Vigoda ever was. Take that how you will.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    *the libertarian moment*

    So much for brevity.

  • Loki||

    The Libertarian Moment never existed in the first place.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's like that elusive black spot you think you see out of the corner of your eye but then you're not really sure it was ever there.

  • Rich||

    That's *them*!

    /Sixth Sense

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Easy to troll much?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    unhappiness with government interference into their personal or sex lives

    Do we define lack of interference into their personal or sex lives as 'letting you do whatever you want but subsidizing negative consequences or that which might cause harm'?

  • Microaggressor||

    Nothing says Libertarian Moment like an entire generation fervently enamored with a socialist top man, and college students demanding a life of dependence.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Amazing how you can deflate NG with a single sentence.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I do not believe that all millennial's, an entire generation of them, care about Bernie Sanders.

  • ||

    Well then, CJ, you're just not collectivizing hard enough. Hit yourself in the head with a hammer a few hundred times, I'm sure you'll get it then.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Ok.

  • Just say Nikki||

    We do, Crusty. Fervently.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Ok.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I do not believe that all millennial's, an entire generation of them, care about Bernie Sanders.

    No, but I think they may have been polled, and a significant percent - I can't say for sure it's a majority - support Sanders. Actual data exists.

    Anecdotally, my oldest is in college and must keep his political beliefs private because right-wingers (even libertarians!) are treated with outright hostility on campus. The current climate is amazingly oppressive for the non-progressive on a college campus and Sanders is by far the candidate of choice.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    my assumption is that there is a very vocal minority, and that vocal minority has enough influence to make Bernie seem cool. I truly find it hard to believe that most younger people actually care about anything, with the exception of a few particular causes such as gay marriage, beyond the boundaries of social media.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    This may be true for the population in total but it's not for those in college. My impression, after spending the past two years visiting campuses, is college students are fucking mental.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    They always have been. They have access to more information , and they seem less equipped than ever to process the information.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    College students typical are eventually professionals of some variety and they make up the class pretentiously but accurately called Thought Leaders. They influence the general direction of the country more directly than do others. So even a vocal minority can have an oversized influence. The Bolsheviks agree with me.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Make of this what you will: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....r=Politics

    Millennials Turn Out For Iowa Caucus, Heavily Favor Sanders

    The rest of the millennials in the caucus would agree with her. A CNN entrance poll shows Sanders well overtaking Hillary Clinton among 17-29 year olds.

    If you look at the graphic, Clinton has a LOCK on the geezers. I mean her thighs are locked TIGHT around the geezers. Like asphyxiation tight.

  • Technomad||

    Thanks a ton for that mental image!

    Send for Mr. Weird Beard! I need counseling!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Keep in mind campus millenials =/= all millenials

  • ||

    Bae!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Thank goodness! As long as least one millennial out there resists, he can never truly become President. Wait, no, that's not how democracy works...

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Are we talking about the Boomers?

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

    I wonder if Beacon, had he written in the 1850s, would have written off abolitionism with the same tone after the execution of John Brown…

  • ant1sthenes||

    If the slaveowners also ran the schools and newspapers, it may have been warranted.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Pretty sure they did in a lot of places.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Libertarianism has died more times than Abe Vigoda Fred Sanford...

    Just trying o help.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    +1 Comin to join ya!

  • tarran||

    Nick, I love the picture of Abe Vigoda. However, it's not going to make up for the gaffe on the day of his death.

    Your writer failed to mention his performance in Barney Miller, and instead he was famous for a supporting role in the Godfather. Now, he may be a nice guy, but clearly your writer was very poorly educated when it comes to American Culture. I doubt Virginia Postrel would have brought him in for a second interview, let alone hired him.

    It's too little, too late. The damage has been done to the Reason brand.

  • Libertymike||

    The brand had been fed to the woodchippers long before the Forrest.

  • ||

    Damn man, you're going to give us all alcohol poisoning! Drink!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I don't even REMEMBER his role in the Godfather, but I watched him weekly on Barney Miller. A show about New York when it was full of hustlers, pimps, crazies, peep shows and urban decay.

  • John Titor||

    You people think referencing his role in the Godfather is the worst thing ever. But you don't know of the horror that is Good Burger.

  • ||

    an event Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress quickly commemorated with a piece called “Rand Paul and the Libertarian Moment That Never Was” and [National Review's] Ramesh Ponnuru marked with “There Never Was a ‘Libertarian Moment.’”

    SHOCKER. I bet they had those articles already written and were just waiting to dust them off.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yep, just like Abe Vigoda's death announcement.

  • ||

    Oh come on, Paul. You don't actually believe Abe is dead, do you? How many times have you heard that before?

  • Derpmaster General||

    I loudly groaned when he stage cried at a speech last year and he openly encouraged his supporters to lynch me.

  • flye||

    The Libertarian Moment is just tired and shagged out after a prolonged squawk.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    +1

  • R C Dean||

    Virtually everything in our lives that is not either directly controlled by or heavily regulated by government has been getting better over the past 30, 40, and 50 years

    Sadly, that category ("not either directly controlled by or heavily regulated by government") has been getting larger and larger, and now sports an increasingly aggressive and arbitrary enforcement environment as well.

    increased personal and economic freedom have allowed for the sorts of experimentation and decentralization of power that accords with libertarian thought.

    I just can't see that I have more personal and economic freedom than I did 10, 20, 30 years ago.

    I think what this theory proposes is that, even though government has been growing relentlessly, society as a whole has grown even faster, so the zone of liberty outside of the government is, on net, bigger than it was.

    And I just don't see that. I mean, yeah, my computer is faster than it was 10 years ago, and my TV is bigger and gets more channels. Unfortunately, my health insurance is now controlled by the federal government, my email traffic is harvested by the federal government, I pay more of my income to various governments, etc.

    I just don't see how government and liberty can both grow at the same time. It just looks like a zero sum game to me.

  • Libertymike||

    Thank you.

  • cavalier973||

    The Libertarian Movement is a public-private partnership, you know.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Threadwinner.

  • ||

    "Oh, no? Well, listen here, missy. Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973, but the average voter is as drunk and stupid as ever. The only one who's changed is me. I've become more bitter and, let's face it, crazy over the years. And when I'm swept into office, I'll sell our children's organs to zoos for meat, and I'll go into people's houses at night and wreck up the place! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Slow down there, Starsky, I'm up to something here.

  • ||

    "Nixon...with charisma? I COULD RULE THE UNIVERSE!!!"

  • DenverJ||

    Kiss my shiny metal ass

  • tarran||

    BTW, if you have time to waste and want to laugh at someone, check out the comments on futurama videos like this one. You'll see a very familiar name, whose sad and empty life is reduced to whining on youtube videos about how mean her betters are.

  • ||

    It was always fascinating how much the griefer(s) hated Futurama jokes. It has to mean something, I'm just not sure what.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They don't like shitty TV shows?

  • Derpmaster General||

    Bite your tongue, fuckwad.

  • VartAndelay||

    Cytotoxic must enjoy being hated. Moreso than your average Senators fan, that is.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    She commented on that one because for a time it was the link in my screen name here.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Sweet, free advertising.

  • MSimon||

    Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973

    More like 1,000 times.

  • Homple||

    Amen, R.C.

  • ||

    To further investigate this trend one could graph the Freedom Index from over the years.

    As of 2014-

    The United States is the only nation to have declined in economic freedom for each of the past seven years, dropping nearly 6 points to this year’s score of 75.5. In 2010, the United States lost its ranking “free” and fell into the “mostly free” category. Although we still rank twelfth, regulation and taxation have needlessly restricted our economic abilities.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/da.....81122079f0

  • straffinrun||

    It's amazing that so many Americans still think The US is the last bastion of freedom in the world. The left is out pushing for full on socialism because capitalism is screwing the worker, while Joe sixpack is claiming "they hate us for our freedomz!". Truth is they're both wrong. It's no more difficult to open a business in Tokyo, Copenhagen or Santiago than it is in Boston. Acutally, apart from the language barrier, it's easier in many cases.

  • ||

    Open a business in Boston? Without paying off someone under the table?

    Good luck with that.

  • straffinrun||

    I'm guessing it's worse. Never even been there.

  • ||

    I can't speak for Chile or Japan but Boston is a regulation nightmare when it comes to private businesses. The reason everyone was cool with Romneycare in Massachusetts is because half the has its hand in the cookie jar and stood to gain significantly with a large state government run operation. It's a mess.

  • R C Dean||

    One of the great overlooked fronts on which the Total State has been advancing with little opposition is local government.

    Just try to open a business without dealing with a round dozen bureaucrats who apparently measure their value to society by how long they can slow you down, and maybe even stop you altogether.

    I know of two heartbreaking cases of the nicest, most energized young people you could ever hope to meet who had dreams of opening their own business. Their business plans weren't half bad, either. They both gave up after being stuck in municipal licensing hell for a couple of months. Their dreams died, and not because America has "increased personal and economic freedom", either.

  • straffinrun||

    I read the book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich a few years back. A truly awful book. Basically, it's Black Like Me but instead of going black, the lady goes poor. The whole book is about how the capitalist system kills the poor with a thousand cuts. It's so expensive to be poor! Never occurred to this lady that the reason the poor are getting screwed is because do gooders like herself are taking away all their choices through bureaucracy.

  • ||

    There is also the misconception that freedom is somehow a steadily gaining commodity in the evolution of our species. It wasn't until the end of the Cold War that you could make the argument that even half of the world lived more free than not (if you can even still make that argument then or now). That's what, 30 years?

    That's barely a blip over say the last 5-6 thousand years of civilization. And there is no guarantee it continues to grow. The founders were nervous about the ability of the US to keep it together for good reason, in that NO OTHER SOCIETY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD had ever been able to retain property rights and individual liberty for very long.

  • straffinrun||

    Liberty, and it's accompanying wealth, sows the seeds for its own destruction. Key is to keep the flame burning when it comes under assault. Whether you're winning or not, keep the idea alive somewhere. I really don't care if we're having a libertarian moment or not. Rally the ones you can and once more into the breach, dear friends. (Just motivating myself here).

  • Rich||

    Well said.

    Are you aware of these guys?

  • Rich||

    @straffinrun

  • straffinrun||

    No, but I'd love to get one of those Hayek t shirts.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    But America is exceptional!1! We can totally trample basic republican and limited government principles and still remain free forever. We're God's creatures, Destiny's Child, a shinning city on a hill.

  • Jerryskids||

    Warren Meyer at Coyoteblog just reprinted a good piece.

    It's the regulations more than the taxes that are killing us - we can elect all the politicians we want to fiddle with the tax code but it's the alphabet agencies that are more and more becoming their own little fiefdoms and nobody's reining them in. You know the DoL just issued a "rules clarification" that says two-employer employees are still the responsibility of the deep-pockets employer despite what they've been saying for years. Getting all your workers through a temp service or a staffing agency to get out from under the paperwork burden of dealing with employment law is no longer going to save you. The fact that so many employers were willing to go that route to escape the DoL regulations didn't suggest to the DoL that they had too many regulations, it convinced them they didn't have enough.

  • Calidissident||

    "I just don't see how government and liberty can both grow at the same time. It just looks like a zero sum game to me."

    I'd say that depends on how you measure the size of government, as well as other factors. Governments can pass very restrictive and oppressive laws without necessitating high taxes and spending, or even a huge bureaucracy. The government is by any measure far larger today than it was 200 years ago, but I don't think any reasonable person would argue the country is more free today.

    In general, for a more recent time frame, I'd say you're correct, although there have been some positives in the 10-30 year time frame you specify. There have been some positive developments recently in areas such as trade policy, gun rights, drug policy, gay rights (not just marriage, but also the elimination of sodomy laws which only happened 13 years ago), free speech (CU), criminalization of marital rape, etc. Before 1986 the top tax rate was 50% (and 70% only a few years before that), so that's come down (although the tax code was a lot different back then, and that doesn't necessarily take into account other taxes). I'm certainly not saying it's been all good in all those areas, but I think those examples show that it hasn't been a constant and total decline.

  • Calidissident||

    And for the record, I think Gillespie's "Libertarian Moment" meme is mostly wishful thinking.

  • Calidissident||

    *that should say no reasonable person would argue the country was freer 200 years ago

  • Trshmnstr, terror of the trash||

    no reasonable person would argue the country was freer 200 years ago

    I would, but I think you have to measure freedom based upon the "high caste." Equality under the law was an issue 200 years ago, but freedom of the "high caste" was not.

    Measurement at the "lowest caste" (prisoners) is meaningless, and I don't think you can just average some measure of per capita freedom.

    In essence, which society is more free? The one where 99 people can do anything they want, and where 1 is a slave, or the one where 100 people can only do some things but nobody is a slave? I would say that the first society is more free, but the second society is more equal.

  • JFree||

    golly. How about where 51 people are completely free and 49 are dinner?

  • Calidissident||

    That's an absurd notion. By that logic, I could say that Saudi Arabia or the USSR or Nazi Germany were the freest states every so long as I define "the high caste" as the king/dictator. Why is measuring the "lowest caste" (whatever that means) meaningless? I agree that you can't really objectively quantify per capita freedom exactly, but you also can't do it for "the high castes" of societies either, so you're stuck with the same problem regardless. Difficulty quantifying something doesn't mean you can't see obvious differences.

  • DenverJ||

    You don't think white males had more freedom in 1816 than they do now?

  • Calidissident||

    Well first off, white men aren't and have never been the entirety of society so I don't think isolating them alone counts for much.

    Secondly, I think in many ways its hard to even compare due to how society has changed because of technology and everything.

    Third, I think there are many ways even white men weren't free back in the day that get ignored. People forget that the Bill of Rights didn't apply to state or local governments until at least the 14th amendment, if not later, so state and local governments were free to implement all sorts of policies that would get struck down even today. There was also plenty of discrimination against ethnic or religious subsets of white men, as well as very oppressive laws toward gay men. And lastly, I could point out that while something like slavery is obviously first and foremost a violation of the liberty of the slave, it also inevitably restrictions the freedom of other members in society to associate with the slave. And many laws restricted association even with free blacks.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is very good and covers the nuance RC Dean is missing.

    There was no 'golden age' of freedom to look back on. America used to have Jim Crow, internment camps, the New Deal, and Jim Crow. A lot of things are better now.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    You're exactly right, RC. Reason is counting the wins and ignoring the losses. It's like saying libertarianism was winning when Prohibition was repealed. Winning that battle but losing the war.

    It isn't the fault of libertarians that we're losing more than we're winning, but we're not going to believe bullshit and ignore facts just because some libertarian organization wants me to. Being lied to makes me re-evaluate my support for the organization.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I just don't see how government and liberty can both grow at the same time. It just looks like a zero sum game to me.

    I believe that government can grow commensurately with the size of the population-- to grow with the increased effort required to achieve its core mission. But that's a very different thing from having a government that must grow its mission in addition to its size.

  • Pay up, Palin's Buttplug!||

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Based on what some of our NH commenters have said, I can believe this.

  • ||

    Sanders is a Vermont guy, that's going to play very well in New Hampshire. Those two states are like the fraternal twins of New England.

  • coloraDOOM||

    Spooning since 1791!

  • cavalier973||

  • cavalier973||

  • cavalier973||

    SF'd the link. My apologies.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Cruz should make sure to mention this.

  • DenverJ||

    If that's not a reason (drink!) to vote for Cruz, I don't know what is.

  • Jason Bayz||

    If politically correct libertarians existed in Russia in 1918 I'm sure they would have been like:

    "No, the libertarian movement ain't over. Just look at all the dissatisfaction with intrusive government that has arisen over the last few years. And . Everyone loves . And how about from . This just proves that libertarians are hip and cool.

  • Jason Bayz||

    If politically correct libertarians existed in Russia in 1918 I'm sure they would have been like:

    "No, the libertarian movement ain't over. Just look at all the dissatisfaction with intrusive government that has arisen over the last few years. And latest trinket. Everyone loves latest trinket. And how about "cherry picked quote" from "cultural figure 1." This just proves that libertarians are hip and cool now.

  • Jason Bayz||

    If politically correct libertarians existed in Russia in 1918 I'm sure they would have been like:

    "No, the libertarian movement ain't over. Just look at all the dissatisfaction with intrusive government that has arisen over the last few years. And latest trinket. Everyone loves latest trinket. And how about "cherry picked quote" from "cultural figure 1." This just proves that libertarians are hip and cool now.

  • ||

    Cool story, bro.

  • straffinrun||

    You having a seizure?

  • Loki||

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If you change your name to Jason Baes, I'll totally upvote all your comments.

  • JeremyR||

    It's hard to call Rand Paul's campaign libertarian when he was supported by Mitch McConnell and palled around with Al Sharpton.

    I used to think Rand was the smart one in the family, or at least the one with common sense. But apparently not.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I agree that conflating Rand Paul's candidacy and "The Libertarian moment" (no matter what you think of it) is bogus.

  • cavalier973||

    Politics is a dirty business.

  • NYer||

    I agree that meeting with Al Sharpton was stupid. But Mitch McConnell.....yeah he's the senior Senator from his home state they're in the same political party and he needed McConnell's support back home. Having a shitty relationship with McConnell would've likely likely led to a strong establishment fueled primary challenger for his Senate seat. Something he needed to avoid to even begin running for President. Really he probably shouldn't have run this year and focused on building a strong fusionist Conservative/libertarian record in the Senate that he could've run on in 4-8 years.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Maurice White is dead.

    Fuck. One of my favorites.

    Here's one from The Midnight Special.

  • PapayaSF||

    I am pretty sure that it was on that show that I saw a great jam between Carlos Santana and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. I've never been able to track down a recording of it, though.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "...conservative Republicans are still trotting out "The Case for Censorship" when it floats their boats."

    Apparently, "The Case for Censorship" was the theme of a *Weekly Standard* article back in 1999.

    Here is the article, which advocates censorship of the media due to the corrupting influence of popular entertainment. The bottom line is:

    "The choice is clear: either a rigorous censorship of the mass media, in conformity with responsible republican government, with censors known to all and operating under law, or an accelerating descent into barbarism and the destruction, sooner or later, of free society itself."

    Well, we can safely say that over the past 25 years the entertainment industry has been (by historical and international standards) free from censorship, and average right-wingers have been largely nibbling around the edges, eg, with attempts to crack down on child porn and so forth. Lady Chatterley's Lover and Ulysses continue to circulate freely, you can play video games where you're a gangster, etc.

    As between the Right and the Left, it's the Left which has been serious about attacking core First Amendment activities, blaming Americans' deaths on videos, trying to censor campaign speech, disciplining college students, etc.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Back in the 80s when some conservative district tried to ban or censor this or that offensive or pornographic thing, the unity and outrage from the left (or what we used to call the left) was impressive.

    Now, the left gives us think pieces about responsibility and cultural sensitivity to those that have no concept of a 1st amendment.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    that politics is a "crippled, lagging indicator" in American life

    If I may take a rare moment and speak seriously... if politics is a "lagging indicator" of American life, then I sure as fuck hate to see where my "American life" is going to be in ten years where I live.

  • R C Dean||

    No kidding. I wonder if that's what they really meant, because if the lagging indicator is going in the wrong direction, the odds are very strong that current reality is even further in the wrong direction.

    Now, maybe the claim is that politics really blows right now, but civil society has really turned itself around. But I can't really see that either.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    People have made comments about "unenforceable laws", but there are plenty of global examples of new, committed leaders which lean into those previously "unenforceable laws" and start making examples out of people. I still agree with the one person who said that the state is the most violent and dangerous when it's in its death throes.

    I'm not saying whether the "state" is having its final hurrah, but I can tell you we sure got a lot of old (and new!), unenforceable laws sitting around, just begging to be enforced.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The short version of "crippled, lagging indicater" is democracy sucks.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    The question Nick poses isn't meant to have an answer. The obvious answer is that a moment only lasts for a brief amount of time, by definition.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It's like that nuclear doom clock's 12:00. The hand can go backwards.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Troegs Nugget Nectar First Squeeze. One if the first tappings outside of PA.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Must you post your secret spy messages here?

    This isn't the BBC in World War Two.

  • straffinrun||

    Interesting can.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It was quite tasty. Going with the Trogenator Double Bock now.

  • straffinrun||

    Bock is good stuff. I always like Leinie's Bock, but I'm a homer. (Other Leinie's is shyte)

  • AlmightyJB||

    I love Leinie's Creamy Dark Lager and their Honey Weiss as well . Haven't had either for a long time.

  • straffinrun||

    Back in the 80's, I spent a lot of time in Chippewa Falls (We called it Chicken Waffles) and you could get Squaw Piss on tap for $1.25 at the local bars. I shudder at the memory. The other day I saw a bottle of Leinie's in the import beer section at a liquor store here in Tokyo. 450 Yen. Had to laugh.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Chicken Waffles. I love that:)

  • lap83||

    Mmm doppelbock

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Oh, alright then, thank you for the translation.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Next I believe will be the Dark Horse Tres Blueberry. I'm so happy right now. I'm sure the 4 day weekend has nothing to do with that. Hopefully the good Buckeyes show up tonight

  • PapayaSF||

    Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne blessent mon coeur D'une langueur Monotone.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The bar manager just gave me a Troeg glass with that same hops squezzing hand on it to take home. Swag!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oh and now a bottle opener from the Troeg guy nice.

  • straffinrun||

    Call the Troeg guy a troeglodyte. It'll be funny, trust me.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I totally trust your judgement.

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

    You can't help feeling a bit of envy toward Reason's editorial staff. Obviously they're getting the kinds of drugs rock stars can only dream of.

  • R C Dean||

    No kidding.

    I won't argue that we are more free to have sex (well, as long as you aren't in college), drugs are getting legaler, slowly, and vastly more music is available to us. But freedom encompasses more than sex, drugs, and rock and roll, so I'm not willing to hang "America is getting more free" off of that hook.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "freedom encompasses more than sex, drugs, and rock and roll,"

    How can freedon encompass more than life?

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    drugs are getting legaler, slowly

    Sudafed begs to differ with you.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, we are like one brick down that road. And we are not getting anywhere anytime soon. Even though drug legalization could solve a multitude of problems. It doesn't involve throwing people in cages so it can't be imagined by most people.

  • Rich||

    drugs are getting legaler "legaler"

    FTFY

  • gaoxiaen||

    So, you don't believe in The Triangle of Happiness. How sad.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Rock Stars? Heck, even Agile must be getting jealous of the Reason staffers by now.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Nick thought Brave New World was a manual, apparently.

  • The Last American Hero||

    What pushback against military interventions? I see a dozen Team Red candidates fighting with HRC over who has the biggest war boner, and a Congress that has done next to nothing to reign in foreign adventurism.

    Actually, I take that back. If Team Red wins in November, the Anti-War left will suddenly rediscover their distaste for foreign adventurism and go back to protesting. And by protesting I mean 10 people holding up a sign on a bridge during Friday rush hour and a few Muslim women dressing in all black and congregating in the town square.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I think the pushback is coming from the bottom, not laterally.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Although Ned Lamont (anyone remember him?) couldn't ride that pushback into office.

  • ||

    Lamont had no chance, but not because of pushback. The way he went after Lieberman was just not going to work (though unseating that scumbag would have been great, even though Lamont is a scumbag too). I was in CT at the time and called his defeat months in advance.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS!

    Good job, Nick. You got them all here in one place. Now press the button, before they realize it's a trap and escape.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    All that's missing is someone touting the economic benefits of immigration.

  • straffinrun||

    I'm an immigrant. I got an anchor baby, too.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I WAS an anchor baby!

  • cavalier973||

    Not letting people escape from a trap is the most libertarian.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Libertarian Monent. Must perpetually die in order to be perpetually embryonic. Like a Phoenix with a very, very, very short life

  • bartzman86||

    The fact that this video below has almost 3million views, and this guy is so popular with the younger generations does not bode well for Libertarians/Free Market people IMO.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3u4EFTwprM

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Meh... it's an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand type of video.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The libertarian moment is stupid, and all discussion of it is stupid. There. Argue with that.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Dude, why you wanna argue?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Go Wolverines!

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Fuckin' love Wolverines, man.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Only with lots of spices

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Yep. On a spit over a nice fire. Maple is best.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    You would both let Jim Harbaugh sleeping in your teenage son's bed

  • AlmightyJB||

    Jim Harbaugh is the Michael Bloomberg of football.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would expect nothing less than the absolute worst from you Crusty and you of course delivered. You are the Hannibal Lector to my Clarice. Or the other way around depending on how you look at it

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    I agree totally.

    You are very smart and good looking.

    I wish nothing but the best for you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Hey!

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    What?

    Am I doing it wrong?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Asking that question is doing it wrong.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I don't know what you are doing. I also do not know what I'm doing.

  • Jerryskids||

    I think part of the problem is confusing "libertarian moment" with "Libertarian moment". If all you're looking at is politics and politicians, things look much worse for Libertarians. If you look at getting away from politics and politicians, it looks like they've got so many more ways to keep you from escaping but you've got even more many more ways of escaping. If you're a libertarian with a cell phone, you've got the internet, UPS and Amazon, you can go live in East Armpit, Wyoming, get the hell away from everybody and still enjoy a hell of a lot more of the creature comforts of civilization than you ever could have before.

    Part of the problem, too, is you get on the internet and see so damn many more problems than you ever knew existed - they've always been there but you've just never been aware of it when your news sources were your local paper and the network TV news. You think things are worse when it's really just that you're now aware of stuff you were never aware of before. But now that you know, what are we going to do about it? Well, we will see, won't we? The Man might have his eye on you, but for the first time, you've got your eye on the Man, too. What we're in the middle of is the watchers are getting watched and only now realizing they're getting watched, and we're going to get to watch them trying to deal with "the problem" of being watched. I think it's going to be fun.

  • lap83||

    I would argue that the libertarian moment exists in the hearts and minds of every orphan monocle mine worker

  • IceTrey||

    Paul was pathetic with his wishy washy libertarianism.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    HEY!

  • Cytotoxic||

    If only he were completely unsuccessful like his dad.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    By the way, all you self-actualized people who got high marks in Philosophy will be glad to know that I don't participate in my Democratic process any more. Even though I'm now forced to by law.

  • ||

    I really have to get out of this city. The amount of FULL RETARD is has gone in just the past few years is...shocking.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    And leave Paul alone with those crazy fuckers?

  • ||

    Every man for himself!

    Also, paranoid android is here too. As is Tak Kak (?), I think.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That's the most libertarian thing you've said over the last five minutes!

  • Tak Kak||

    Oh yeah, right in Fremont, the Center of the People's Slow Watch Republic... or something.

    I'm itching to move back South but watching this place implode might be fun too.

  • ||

    I used to work in Fremont. I miss going to The Roxy for lunch, or to Tacos Guaymas. Or to Brouwer's for beer.

  • paranoid android||

    Every man for himself!

    Also, paranoid android is here too. As is Tak Kak (?), I think.

    Yeah, I'm definitely not sure how much more of this place I can take. Nothing like massive rents and taxes to afford the privilege of living in a city that seems to be actually trying proactively to make itself less pleasant to live and work in. I imagine in a couple years I'll be on the Eastside somewhere.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The city is ACTIVELY chasing out middle class people and then turning around and wondering why only the extremely wealthy and homeless live here.

  • ||

    Yeah, the politicians have been *actively* doing shit to make traffic more unpleasant, the rents are skyrocketing, and with the insane construction everywhere, it's just not the same city it was a few years ago. I'm pretty sure the politicians are furiously masturbating over the explosion in SLU and their anticipation of becoming the rulers of a "real" city as Seattle experiences another growth spurt. That's why they've gone crazy trying to be the first with various things like $15 minimum wage, absurd bike lanes, etc.

    The megalomania of politicians never ceases to amaze me. They will fuck everything up, even their own futures, to feel a bit more powerful now.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Don't worry, it's a lagging indicator.

    Oh wait.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That won't stand up.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If I had a nickel for every time I said that after an election.

    I believe that standing case law makes it a first amendment violation. But someone has to hire the right lawyer, sue, show harm, get in front of a sympathetic judge. Basically, a lot of dominoes have to fall exactly right to knock that over.

    We'll see. I'll be the first posting off-topic links if it falls.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Very true.

  • RAHeinlein||

    This is why I sold my Portland condo - Seattle South...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Just try to open a business without dealing with a round dozen bureaucrats who apparently measure their value to society by how long they can slow you down, and maybe even stop you altogether.

    I know of two heartbreaking cases of the nicest, most energized young people you could ever hope to meet who had dreams of opening their own business. Their business plans weren't half bad, either. They both gave up after being stuck in municipal licensing hell for a couple of months. Their dreams died, and not because America has "increased personal and economic freedom", either.

    I couldn't give a fuck less about global warming or Teh Caliphate; what scares me is the plunge in new business formation in this country.

  • Aloysious||

    Nick, I like your optimism. Sometimes, I even share it.

    Until I see yet another picture of Donald Trump/Clinton/Sanders.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • Aloysious||

    U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle ...

    ...inspires yet another bout of woodchipper purchases.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This was one of those great cases where the Judge said that no one had been smeared by the overbroad and ill-defined language of the law yet, so no harm could be shown.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Oh, by the way, this is important: http://www.personaldefenseworl.....ys-ccrkba/

    “no arrests, no prosecutions and no convictions under this statute.

    So the law, we are told, is working.

  • ||

    To die, something must first be born.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    I think "Libertarian Moment" means "Toad Elevating Moment".

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    OT: Seattle in the middle of WORST HOMELESS CRISIS EVAR! mulls "buying out" utterly failed Pronto (AKA 'underutilized') Bike sharing program for $1.4 million.

    The bike-share program started in October 2014 with 500 bikes and about 50 stations in the U-District, Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle. Although a nonprofit manages Pronto, day-to-day operations are handled by a private company called Motivate.

    Ridership has lagged. According to Pronto data, most bikes were ridden less than once a day, on average, from October 2014 to October 2015.

    Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Transportation and Sustainability Committee, said he was disappointed to see Pronto “go financially sideways so quick” and said he’ll have to carefully consider whether to fund it.

    “Just barely a year into it we’re going to throw a million and half into it to keep it alive and see what the next phase is.”

    For those keeping score at home, this is 1960s, orange jumpsuit and leg-irons on the 6 o'clock news level of corruption that doesn't even get a second look by anyone in local media.

    A little googling on Scott Kubly, the Seattle DOT director is balls deep in with this Pronto bike-sharing company that he wants the city to "buy out" for $1.4 million.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Doesn't it rain a lot in Seattle? Who rides a bike in the rain besides poor people who don't have cars?

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    LB, we've got fucking bike lanes all over downtown Minneapolis. We're in some kind of dumbass arms race with Seattle and Portland for 'most bike friendly city' or some such nonsense.

    By the way, there is 10 inches of snow on the ground right now.

    It's all proggie signalling. They don't actually ride the fucking things - they just want you to.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I'm sure those MN bike lanes are abandoned 5 months of the year due to weather. I'm gonna stay Nov-Mar. And it's probably too hot in August so 6 months.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    There was a proposal awhile back to out them in the pedestrian skyways.

    These people are truly deranged.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Ha, beat you again. Seattle wanted to remove its pedestrian skyways because of white privilege.

  • Tak Kak||

    The whitest city I've ever lived in, completely obsessed with race:

    http://crosscut.com/2016/02/a-.....-by-dance/

    Maybe Portland will top it and have it on ice.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    LB, we've got fucking bike lanes all over downtown Minneapolis. We're in some kind of dumbass arms race with Seattle and Portland for 'most bike friendly city' or some such nonsense.

    Well you're losing, bitch. We've spent more money, painted more lanes and have fewer riders. So we win.

  • RAHeinlein||

    Same nonsense in Des Moines - healthy streets!

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Now is the best time to regale the commentariat with your political entreaties. If you feel most strongly that American society, mankind's very existence, the fabric of the space-time continuum ITSELF, hinges upon this election, and - a key element not to be forgotten - supporting your man with our hearts, minds, wallets, front yards, votes and sexual favors is the least we owe you our species, please speak up.

    You have my attention and fifteen minutes. Go!

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    No one here needs 15 minutes, Hamster.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    They got them whether they needed them or not.

    Time's up! MST3King the debate, must clean kitchen first lest my degenerate amusements be tainted by thoughts of obligations undone.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Suck dick for Kasich.

    That's my entreaty.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Go on...

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If we get President Hillary or President Sanders, we'll re-re-re-re-discover just how little we can actually hope to change.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I strongly believe that the space-time continuum hinges upon me receiving sexual favors. Thanks for asking.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Apropos of nothing, Nut punch Thursday

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's difficult to comprehend how fucked up people are

  • Entelechy||

    It may be time for Ron Paul to adopt Jeb Bush-

    Double the nepotism, double the fun.

  • Alice Bowie (is back)||

    "With Rand Paul’s Exit, Has the 'Libertarian Moment' Died Once Again?"

    Gary Johnson ?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    He said he was running, but I've seen little else about that.

  • SusanM||

    Schrödinger's Candidate?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Nice:)

  • gaoxiaen||

    Just keep shooting the box. He's still one sixty-fourth alive.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I approve of this message

  • LynchPin1477||

    You guys don't get it. Nick keeps harping on the Libertarian Moment because he thinks that if he repeats it enough times, people will just accept that it's true. Sort of like the sheep in Animal Farm. And I don't mean that as an indictment, just an observation. The hope is that if you repeat "Libertarian Moment" enough times, people will stop saying "Libertarians - those guys are crazy!" and start saying "Well, we're in this Libertarian Moment (I know this because everyone keeps saying so) and the world hasn't ended yet, so maybe those Libertarians aren't so bad."

  • AlmightyJB||

    "maybe those Libertarians aren't so bad"

    I think socially liberal and economically conservative is such a threat to the status quo that we'll always be "crazy".

  • LynchPin1477||

    The status quo isn't very popular right now.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Doesn't stop people from voting for them though. Out of fear of the "other side" if nothing else. To be fair I can somewhay relate, given my viseral hatred for progs.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's sad because the progs want to destroy our country and bankrupting us to do it and the neocons want to destroy everyone elses country and bankrupting us to do it. That seems to be our choice.

  • AlmightyJB||

    My phone added the ing but you know what I mean

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yes. Christianofascists want us to ban abortion, jail hippies and brown folks, confiscate everything through asset forfeiture and pretend to believe this is freedom and not a return to the Dark Ages.

  • DenverJ||

    Right. That's why Clinton is going to be the Democrats' nominee. That's why corrupt police still don't go to jail. That's why the news is still dominated by the same tired outfits. Etc.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Yeah, but when the status quo is discredited, the time arrives for zealots to try to remake the world in the image of their utopian fantasies. There are certainly libertarian utopians and zealots, but not many as libertarians go, and certainly not enough to be of interest.

    About the only libertarian movement that would make sense would be to seize some defensible location with nukes; even then, they would have to have some strategy for remaining libertarian, which would necessarily involve devising a society that could expel and exclude those that did not share its principles, but without devolving into purity purges.

  • IceTrey||

    Which is strange because each side gets half of what it wants.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Thay both get all of what they want. At our expense.

  • cavalier973||

    Stop saying "socially liberal and economically conservative", first of all.

    Say, rather, "I'm opposed to government bullying people, whether it is in their homes or in the public square."

  • EscherEnigma||

    Personally, I don't think libertarians/Libertarians are crazy because of their abstract ideals. I think they're crazy because they expect me to sacrifice the possibility for real gains and progress for their ideal, but untenable, solution.

    For every single problem.

  • RAHeinlein||

    Frankly, I don't see much "Libertarian" even among Reason staff, which is why I did not contribute this year (that, and bad swag). The comments are the best part of Reason, and there has been a distinct chill since woodchipper.

  • ||

    The libertarian moment will arrive when people stop perceiving libertarians as all having pony tails while writing manifestos laced with symbols and sriracha stains.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This article has *some* good points but Nick completely undermines what little credibility he has with tripe like this:

    "“If you enjoy the choice coming through your screen via Netflix,” he says, you’re chilling to libertarian principles...."

    No you're fucking not Nick. Libertarian principles, which I doubt you understand, involve limiting government to very specific roles. Subscribing to NetFlix is not libertarian.

  • MSimon||

    Well dislike of "unfettered business growth" will be cured by the next round of the current depression.

  • ireneanderson0014||

    just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citroën 2CV . look here.......
    Clik This Link inYour Browser.
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  • eyeroller||

    The whole point of a "moment" is that it doesn't last long. Do you mean to say "trend" or something, Nick?

  • EscherEnigma||

    "But for cripes sake, it's ridiculous to be writing off the Libertarian Moment and libertarianism simply because his presidential campaign went tits up."
    That's not why people are writing it off. That's one of *many* reasons.

    "By the end of this year alone, we'll have legalized pot in up to a dozen more states than we do now [...]"
    Being pushed by liberals, not libertarians.

    "[...] school-choice and public-sector pensions will have been reformed in various places [...]"
    Being pushed by conservatives, not libertarians.

    "[...] serious criminal-justice reform will have been enacted [...]"
    First, HAHA, yeah right. Second, being pushed by liberals, not libertarians.

    "[...] the pushback against military interventions will have proceeded apace [...]"
    Pushed by liberals.

    "[...] you can bet the rent money that there will be more individualized and hyper-personalized options for all of us [...]"
    Which will be pushed by capitalists, not libertarians.

    See, this is why I have such a problem with this "libertarian moment" thing. Everything that's credited to it is being pushed by people who aren't libertarians for non-libertarian reasons. If the best you have to offer is "some non-libertarians did things we like for the wrong reasons" that's not evidence of a "libertarian moment", that's evidence that the things you want aren't impossible, you're just impotent.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Non-Republican Moment is more like it. Tea Party teatotlitarians are still pulling the strings for God's Own Prohibitionists. They have simply taken over for the Prohibition Party in its dotage.

  • Andy542||

    ❝❝My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser❞❞....

    www.Workpost30.com

  • Hank Phillips||

    I hate to break it to you guys, but Rand Paul is an antiabortion conservative member of the Republican party, as in God's Own Prohibitionists. The Libertarian Party is a completely different thing with its own platform candidates and whatnot.

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